Link: UCOP's e-newsletter

Stay Informed. Stay Connected.

UC center explores race in 21st century

Across all 10 UC campuses, the Center for New Racial Studies connects researchers examining a wide variety of issues linked to race, including class, ethnicity, gender and immigration status.

In a nation of immigrants, Shannon Gleeson’s multiethnic genealogy parallels the stories of many American families.

Her mother first came to United States from Mexico in 1970 as a teenage undocumented immigrant and found work as a housekeeper. After being deported and later returning, she eventually earned a college degree and embarked on a three-decade career in California and Texas as a schoolteacher.

Her father’s Irish-German-Ukrainian family traces its roots to the wave of European immigration during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the doors to the U.S. were mostly open. He eventually settled in Los Angeles.

Both families faced challenges and xenophobia immigrants often experience, but the political eras during their migration were distinct.

“What’s different is the legal context in which they entered,” Gleeson said. “We tend to think of Ellis Island with some nostalgia. We don’t think of the Mexican border (positively) as a gateway to prosperity for generations of people.”

The dichotomy of her family history in part led Gleeson to concentrate on the immigrant experience as an undergraduate in sociology at Santa Clara University and for her doctorate in sociology and demography from UC Berkeley. The pathways and obstacles that immigrants, particularly low-wage workers, encounter is now the focus of Gleeson’s research as an assistant professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at UC Santa Cruz.

Read the full story on the UC Research website.

Leave your comment here